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"nicky blankenship" Discussed on The Piketon Massacre

The Piketon Massacre

08:49 min | 5 months ago

"nicky blankenship" Discussed on The Piketon Massacre

"Him. Abors in it to michael ryan's name his cell phone number. I had all this remains that really impacted our area a lot of closure to these families who are told nothing by our local officials are local for this is the pike and massacre returned to pike county season. Two episode seven twenty five miles south. I'm courtney armstrong a television producer at kt studios with stephanie. Lie decker and jeff. Shane in episode five of this season. We explored the allegations of corruption and the subsequent arrest of pike county. Sheriff charlie reader but his story is just one of many that has illuminated alleged abuses of power perpetrated by those involved in southern. Ohio's criminal justice system so in this episode. We wanna focus on another case that has long affected a community. Just twenty five miles south of piked in in a town called portsmouth. Ohio in two thousand fifteen reporter named nicky blankenship began investigating rumors of human trafficking in the town like many small ohio. Town's portsmouth has a long rich history of industrial might preceding an era of rapid urban decay. Here's james pilcher. Reporter for local twelve news and cincinnati. Speaking with our producer. Chris graves the county seat of kyoto. County which right below pike county. So it's about thirty to forty five minutes out. The pike portsmouth has this. Rust belt burned out industrial field. There are half empty to empty factories in the middle of the city at one point. Us shoe had biggest plant there. And then obviously you know the global economy and we all know what happened to manufacturing in the mid west it still has a small profitable steel mill. Downtown it's barely hanging on. So kyle a city that was forgotten when the manufacturing industry began to disappear. Portsmouth was besieged by the drug trade nikki. Blankenship grew up in the area and saw the devastation firsthand. Your areas been really hit by the opiate crisis right. Yeah we call ourselves. Ground zero for the opioid epidemic. I've lived in ohio. Since nineteen eighty-four insider counties. Yeah lived here my whole life. I remember in highschool people around me. They would start out with small pain pills and oxycontin hit and it was no longer recreational drug use. That people were doing that parties. You're seeing people become addicted very very very quickly in two thousand eight. Nikki started writing about the issue for a local newspaper. I started out covering the drug epidemic. I was the first in the area to do stories on oxycontin looking at overdose rates in the area and started asking those questions from the coroner's office. About how many of these deaths that we're seeing are connected to opiate use and then started looking into komo's and we ended up shutting down over twenty three helmets inside a county nikki's reporting helps at a late on the areas drug problem but other elicit industries sprung up around it. Nikki was there to cover it all and twenty thirteen. I did a series that ran for months on prostitution and i was walking the streets with these growth. I also talked to you like parents of one then that we're working on the streets and talk to officers about the problem and local businesses about how it affected It was interesting. Because when i was doing these stories i started seeing a lot of names. Come up from these girls. The one mentioned most often was michael. Moran michael moran. He's in his mid seventies long-time defense attorney. You know the you is drug offenses those kinds of things yet. His own firm in portsmouth and at one point in the late two thousands got himself appointed as a city. Councilman of portsmouth is a very public person. So if there was a red cross danquah or something covering he would be there. So he's he's been around my whole career pretty much now. Rumors had been circulating about mike moran for years they stories about him being involved in prostitution prostitution god way back to the seventies. A lot of those stories are just about him. Hiring grows stance and Apple local parties and poker gangs. It was a secret the everyone choked about but no one really talked about and it was pretty common knowledge. I think. I mentioned like a red cross bank. I had to cover once. He was air with a girl known to be arrested for prostitution known to be arrested for drug abuse and she was there you could tell that. She was under the influence her behavior. She being very loud. I'm on a cell phone with this. And speaking very appropriately for the study and like just laughing with her at westerly councilman at the time. Actually wendover towards me jokingly elbow me in the side than said. There's mike at one of his girls. It's just always been known as nikki began exploring maran's ties to the local sex trade. The story grew much darker. I was interviewing some people who were in an inpatient treatment facility. And i found out that one of the women over the program was involved with a human trafficking program and so i started talking with her about human trafficking and she said that when women are arrested eleazar major moran has been going to see them in jail and charges and exchange floor doing sexual favors for him and working in prostitution nikki. Further explain the allegations levelled against moran by area. Women that the crux of what he does is. He offers his legal services to get these women out of jail and then put some under his employee. Yes he gets women out of gel and basically gets into his clutches. Our stories are the people are hired as dog walkers or as cleaners and and said are actually working in prostitution. An affidavit filed by the. Da would later support these accounts. James explained that this method of manipulation marks the distinction between prostitution and human trafficking from people will say oh well these women knew what they were doing. They were just trying to make money. These women were prostitutes. Well if you talk to the experts it went one step beyond that. It went into trafficking because some of those allegations moran was holding over them the fact that they were drug addicts even he would withhold their money or withhold. Their money wherewithal to get drunk so the statute says if you withhold or threatened to withhold money that women need for drugs or withhold. The drugs trafficking. 'cause it's coercion anytime you can prove coercion. It's traffic both in ohio law in federal. 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mike moran James michael ryan Chris james pilcher jeff michael Lie decker today Shane stephanie first year twelve models kt studios Nikki portsmouth forty five minutes seventies norton twenty thirteen